Bethel: I think I should start at CB

Posted by Darren Urban on March 7, 2017 – 10:34 am

Really, it’s no surprise. A player is asked if he should start. He’s going to say yes. That’s what Justin Bethel did Tuesday, when asked on the NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” show if he should start at cornerback for the Cardinals this season.

Yes, I think so,” Bethel replied.

“That was my mindset going into this past season,” Bethel said. “Even when I did get hurt, I thought I was going to be back soon enough to get a chance to (be the starter), and obviously a couple of setbacks and that wasn’t the case.”

Bethel had a foot injury that kept him out the entirety of the offseason, and part of camp. It bothered him most of the season, although Bethel was back to feeling like himself in the last couple of games.

“At the end of the season, seeing myself being able to go out there and making plays kind of showed me, ‘OK, you’re getting back to where you need to be,’ ” Bethel said.

What will be interesting is whether he gets that chance. The Cardinals are trying to figure out what to do with that starting cornerback job opposite Patrick Peterson. The draft is deep in cornerbacks. And Bethel, even with the injuries, hasn’t been able to consistently show himself at cornerback (Bethel played there a chunk at the end of 2015 after Jerraud Powers was hurt). Coach Bruce Arians did praise Bethel at the Combine, noting he played better after “I said what I said” (the infamous “failure-in-progress” comment). Bethel, with a $4.75M salary, is paid like a No. 2 starting cornerback. He’s earned that money as a Pro Bowl special teamer too, but it’ll be an interesting story to watch — again, with such a deep CB draft class.

Posted in Blog | 39 Comments »

39 Responses to “Bethel: I think I should start at CB”

  1. By JamesSamuels on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply

    Bethel and HoneyBadger are Healthy now coming in this 2017 season. Both played bad last year because of injuries which is understandable.
    this will be their season to shine and perform how they wanted to last year.

  2. By Marlin on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply

    We have to draft a cornerback relatively high (first 3 rounds).

  3. By Eazy E on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply

    Justin had multiple opportunities, but whether it’s injuries or poor play, it got him benched.

  4. By JTDG on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply

    Easy E,


    I’m thinking, it’s year 6 for Bethel. Am I suppose to believe this is finally the year?
    I think after 3 years, you know what you have. Years 1-5 have not been good enough to warrant a starting spot in year 6.

    I find a starting CB, whether in FA or Draft and say, OK Bethel, go beat him out.That is your shot. But no way would I count on him to be the starter. No way.

  5. By mitchaz on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply

    Monday’s showcase of the DBs was pure fireworks — a grand finale galore —so fast, colorful,and furious.

    The fact is — these DBs player after player absolutely blew away the WRs and RBs — it used to be the opposite, but thanks to superb and popular CBs such as Darrell Revis, Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson — CB is the new sexy — and the younger generation has taken notice.

    What does this mean when DB are running 4.3s and 4.4s and WRs are running 4.4s and 4.5s? It means that getting open in the NFL is becoming more and more difficult. Which means that drafting WRs is becoming more and more difficult because GMs and HCs have to be able to picture whether a WR can gain consistent separation in tight coverage.

    This is one of the major reasons why BA, after watching John Ross run a 4.22, wrote a note to himself and stuffed it in his pocket.

    This is another reason why one of the most prolific pass catchers in this draft, Cooper Kupp, likely dropped from the early to mid second round to the third or fourth round because he ran a 4.6.

    It also likely means that one of the best ballhawking CBs, Teez Tabor, dropped from a possible to 15 pick to a Day 2 pick, because he ran a 4.6.

    The top of the draft board is becoming more and more muddled with each passing day.

    * DE Myles Garrett flashed freakish physical skills that likely wrapped up the #1 pick, and yet scouts must be scratching their heads as to why he only had 3 sacks this season versus SEC opponents. His lower leg injury was an issue, that’s for sure. But he looks well healed at the right time.

    * DT Jonathan Allen was diagnosed with arthritis in his shoulders. And when you watch his playing style, it is no wonder because his lower body generates a tremendous burst which thrusts his upper body forward in such a way that he lunges his way through contact into the backfield. He is what he is — a full tilt bull rusher.

    * S Malik Hooker, while possessing all-world range, speed and anticipation, is facing three surgeries for sports heinous and a bum shoulder.

    * LB Reuben Foster not only disgraced himself by getting thrown out of the Combine, scouts are concerned about his history of concussions — which may account for why he does not consistently wrap up on his tackles. In college he could get away with knocking RBs down — in the NFL he is going to have to hit and wrap or he will get bounced.

    * WRs Corey Davis and Mike Williams — injured and/or tired from a long season. Both have to answer the doubters about their speed and ability to gain separation in the NFL.

    * WR John Ross facing shoulder surgery. The 40 record is amazing, but can he hold up physically in the NFL? The Alabama CBs pressed him big-time and Ross was a non-factor in the national semi-finals.

    * DE Derek Barnett coming down with the flu and not putting on the show that was expected.

    * OLB Takkarist McKinley is facing shoulder surgery. Had he been healthy he might have skyrocketed up draft boards, possible into the top 15.

    * RB Leonard Fournette has a chronic ankle problem which could require surgery. While he still ran a 4.5, he looked like he was laboring more than usual.

    * CB Marshon Lattimore looked like he solidified a spot in the top 10 with a 4.36 40, but tweaked his hamstring (he says hip flexor — but — he knows that teams are aware of the hamstring issues that kept him on the sidelines off and on his first two years at OSU). A closer look at the tape shows that teammate Gareon Conley is more skilled and just as athletic…in fact, better body control.

    The list goes on…

    For me…my hope for the Cardinals at #13 hinge on 4 players:

    RB/WR/PR/KR Christian McCaffrey (whom I worry the Saints will take at #11, which is one of the reasons why they are trading Brandin Cooks — he is a top 3 RB and top 3 WR in this draft class and a top 3 punt returner)

    OLB/ILB/SS Haason Reddick (I like him better for the Cardinals than Reuben Foster because he’s a better blitzer, a more fundamental tackler and more skilled cover guy — and he can play inside or outside or even at SS)

    G/T/C Forrest Lamp (the Nick Martin comparisons are legit and if the Cardinals do not sign a FA G, Lamp would make prefect sense — plus he can play T and C)

    SS/CB/FS/PR Jabrill Peppers (assuming Hooker and Adams are taken — with Tony Jefferson likely moving on and with the way the Cardinals use the SS to blitz, force the run and cover, Peppers could be dynamic in that role, plus he is an electrifying punt returner — instant upgrade on STs)

    While I love the DBs — this draft is so deep that at #45 or even at #77 the Cardinals could still select a top 40 talent.

    Versatility and superior athleticism are just what the Cardinals need — not only on offense and defense, but especially on STs.

    When the NFL Network did their Combine recap at the start of the show last night — the first two names highlighted and raved about were McCaffrey and Reddick. In today’s NFL you need flexible players who win you key matchups on both side of the ball. You also, as the Cardinals sadly learned last year, need to win close games by playing superb special teams. These ballers can get it done in multiple ways, donning Cardinal red and milk white.

  6. By D on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply

    Strange that BA preaches that his TE’s need to block well and the first resigning of their own unrestricted free agent is Gresham, who is not known for his blocking abilities. Must be due loyalty for him taking less to stay last year.

    Swearinger next?

  7. By JamesSamuels on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply


    HONESTLY the Cardinals worked and developed Bethel and the other players hours on end all year.
    So saying after 3 years, you know what you have with Bethel and Years 1-5 have not been good enough to warrant a starting spot in year 6 is something the Cardinals staff would know way better than you.

    It wasn’t until Bradshaw’s sixth season that he threw for more touchdowns than interceptions. Oh, and he ended up winning four Super Bowls.

  8. By Don on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply

    I’m expecting Williams to have improved significantly in his second year. Draft a CB in 3-4 and let them duke it out. I don’t think Bethal has what we need and we could save some money by cutting him but BA likes him.

  9. By Don on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply

    PFF ranked Gresham a top blocking TE.

  10. By Scott H on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply

    Well, never mind CB / Bethel for a moment…..I think we are truly seeing the last hours of Calais Campbell as an Arizona Cardinal. With multiple teams apparently interested, there could be a bidding war and that is definitely the end of him in a Cards uniform. Can’t say the Cardinals didn’t try, but there is just no way he isn’t gonna get more money somewhere else.

    Been feeling like saying this for awhile, so I’ll say it now – to all those who have been saying that Campbell is over-rated and isn’t dominant enough for guy his size and that he disappears too much during games….well, you might come to miss this guy REAL quick when he’s not here anymore.

    Looks like our D is gonna take a BIG hit right off the bat with Campbell’s departure. Hope the F/O has a plan. ’cause this probably isn’t gonna be the only hit the D is going to take.

    I was happy to hear about the Gresham deal, but…..FOUR years?? For a near 30-year old player who has had a history of injuries?? A two-year deal might have seemed more fitting here…..BUT no major complaints. I like Gresham, I’m glad he’s staying here. Now, let’s get our money’s worth out of this guy.

  11. By JTDG on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply


    First, the coaching staff would know more than me. OK, I’ll accept that.

    Here’s the truth, The Coach called Bethel a Failure in Progress. The coaches have chose other players in front of him to play CB each year, year after year.

    The cards have needed a CB opposite Peterson since Peterson was drafted. Bethel was taken in 2012 in the draft. Since then, we have watched the cards run out to CB ;

    William Gay – 2012
    Jerraud Powers – 2013
    Antonio Cromartie – 2014
    Back to Jerroud Powers – 2015
    Brandon Williams – 3 games in 2016
    Marcus Cooper – 13 games in 2016

    Truth is, the cards have been needing and actively looking for that CB opposite Peterson for 7 years. Truth is , the whole time Bethel has been on the roster, yet the coaching staff has not put him in.

    So, as you said, the coaching staff knows more than us. If true, you have to accept the concept that Bethel is not a starting CB in this league. Saying he is, is YOU saying you know more than the coaches.

  12. By JTDG on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply

    Scott H,

    Gresham – 4 years;

    Got to see the structure of the deal. Most of the time, a 4 year deal is a two year deal, where you can release the players after year two.


    Agreed. This defense will miss the big guy. Heard Jacksonville is looking to pair him with Malik Jackson,

    If Jacksonville adds Marshawn Lattimore with the 4th pick and pair him with Jalen Ramsey and then add Campbell to go get the QB, who know what happens down in Jacksonville.

  13. By JTDG on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply

    Looks like Tony Jefferson is going join Bowles in New York with the Jets.
    Good move for the Jets.

    The cards are interested in DJ Fluker to play RG. Big, powerful guy.

  14. By D on Mar 7, 2017 | Reply

    If the report is true about Mr. Keim offered CC $10 mil per year then AZ can afford one of the top free agent RGs at 8-9 million per year.

  15. By clssylssy on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    I find it kinda amusing but even more so a little sad, that our players get so beat up by the fans when the real problem lies higher up the food chain. We have had one of the most talented rosters in the NFL but they just can’t get out of their own way and win games. BA has said he just calls the plays and leaves the other stuff to assistants etc. Maybe we need a little more of a hands on coach? SK talks (and talks and talks) about being “aggressive” which so far means tagging C Jones and re-signing a few players who weren’t high priority (ed10M guaranteed for an injury plagued TE over 4 years??😱) Of our top paid players only one made the top 100 which speaks volumes for our coaching as well as for the guy in charge of managing our cap and doing the deals. We can’t afford to retain our own good players but instead have our money players on the sidelines in hopes that EVENTUALLY we’ll see

  16. By clssylssy on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    (Continued)…we’ll see a return.
    With BASK making these kinds of decisions does it really do any good to get excited over the draft or FA? Like somebody else pointed out…”smoke and mirrors”. Sadly, I don’t know why Fitz came back, Calais & Tony have a better shot at a ring.

  17. By Big Ken on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    I’m mixed about the signing of Gresham. It looks like they will let Fells go, not tendering him. Gresham is probably a fav of Carson.

  18. By Jacob Hewitt on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    I think the cardinals have a little Antonio Brown on there hands his name is J.J Nelson !!! So I don’t see why the cardinals would draft a wide receiver now they have john Brown J.J Nelson and Fitz so there good on wide outs.

  19. By D on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    Fluker was on the worst OLine in the NFL last year and he was released…don’t get too excited..

  20. By Rick on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    Bethel , Did ok one minute and failed the next. Failure in progress is what I heard. Then did ok ? Better keep looking.

  21. By Kevin S Mesa on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    Clssylssy —

    “We have had one of the most talented rosters in the NFL…”

    Funny how three years of double-digit wins, from a team that hadn’t had a winning record in the three previous seasons, leads everyone to say that we have all this “talent.”

    Carson Palmer, if you believe most NFL fans, was washed up before he came here. At best a middle-of-the-road guy. And once he got past the first half of the first season (when the whole team struggled in Arians’ offense), for the next 2 1/2 years he had one of the highest winning percentages in the league and in one of those years was considered an MVP candidate. So, is that talent, or coaching? Palmer never had a season like that before.

    As much as we all love Fitz, he wasn’t being named in the same breath as other top receivers around the league any more. Then he had a resurgence after fully embracing his role in Arians’ system. Talent, or coaching?

    The answer is obviously some of both.

    I can’t believe how down some fans are on BA/SK after one down year. Especially when we can all look at that one down year and see that our 7-8-1 final record could easily have been double digit wins again with simple execution. Two easily makeable game winning FG’s missed. 100+ yard INT return followed by 100+ yard KO return vs. Minnesota. Turning the ball over time and again to give away a home game against the hapless Rams in a game we dominated. That’s 11 wins right there, and a division championship, if the players simply execute, and I’m leaving out at least a couple other winnable games. Again, is it poor coaching or poor play by the players when an opponent runs a kickoff back for a TD? Probably some of both, but more than likely, that’s more on the players than on the coaching.

    No doubt there were BA/SK moves that we as fans can criticize. BA’s play calling can be second guessed from time to time. SK not getting a CB and allowing the team to go into week 1 with the expectation of the overmatched rookie Williams handling the job was, in retrospect, a very bad decision. So sure, we can spread the blame around — front office, coaches and players. But let’s be clear — BA and SK instantly gave Cardinal fans three great years on the heels of much mediocrity. To turn on them now and say that Jefferson and Campbell have a better chance at a ring (not even knowing where they’re going, but with TJ speculated to go to the hapless Jets) is silly.

  22. By JTDG on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    Heard Jefferson is going to get 9 million a year. We will see.

    Jones contract is a hair lower than Vernon contract. I will be interested in structure and how much money is freed up for 2017.

    The Niners look to be landing Pierre Garcon and could be landing Kirk Cousins. Looks like John Lynch may know what he is doing.

  23. By Wild Blue Yonder on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    Based on Keim’s lack of success over the last few years in hitting “home runs” (or even “triples”) in FA signings or drafting top notch ready-to-play impact players, Cards’ fans shouldn’t expect him to do any better this season.
    If we’re lucky, he’ll hit a “double” or two.

  24. By Darren Urban on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    Wild Blue —

    RE: Keim

    So Dansby, Cro, Abraham, Veldheer, Iupati don’t count.

  25. By D on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    Darren-in years past, the Org would want the players to visit before signing for medical, etc…I don’ t recall the last few years if they still do that or have they signed a few without face to face…

  26. By Darren Urban on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Visits

    For the most part, yes, that still happens, although for the bigger targets, its more of, you’ll sign unless the medical shows something bad. It’s why news usually leaks out before the team announces, because the team is waiting for the medical.

  27. By D on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    I would think CC wouldn’t be too happy if AZ get’s the Jones deal done today and then slap the Franchise Tag on big 93…

  28. By Darren Urban on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Tag

    Can’t happen. 1) Tag can only be used once in an offseason and 2) deadline for tag was 3/1.

  29. By Scott H on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    clssy –

    “I don’t know why Fitz came back….Calais and Tony have a better shot at a ring.”

    Oh, my. We’ve often been on the same page but right now, we’re not even in the same library. And you recently made the comment that both Fitz and Palmer had ambivalence about coming back. Wow. I just don’t understand where any of that is coming from.

    From my point of view, if that matters, Carson Palmer’s career was pretty much on its way to nowhere before he came to the Cardinals. He’d been banished from the Bengals and consigned to hell in Oakland. At THAT time, that is pretty much being in Oakland was. Coming to the Cardinals made him relevant again. He has a better team around him, here in Arizona, than he ever had before. I don’t hear him complaining.

    Fitz could have easily walked away if he wanted. And he could have left here to go to another team any time he wanted. He didn’t. He’s maintained he wanted to remain a Cardinal for his career. He has, and it looks like he will never play for another team. He still has the fire, still wants to win, has said point blank he loves playing for Bruce Arians. So….where is the ambivalence???

    As Kevin points out, the Arizona Cardinals have been a pretty damn good place to be in recent years. I’m really sorry to see you don’t seem to feel that way.

  30. By clssylssy on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    you won’t be finding me throwing shade on any team as it appears even the “hapless Rams” & 49ers have more going on than the Cards. Between all the trades and signings that keep my phonej blowing up, it seems SK is doing what he always does…talks a good line without really saying or doing anything.
    Fitz may not be considered in the same conversation as Antonio Brown or Odell Beckam, but there are a lot of teams that would grab him up in a heart beat because he can still run with those young dogs because of his wirk ethic, skillset, and hunger for competition–that’s ALL Fitz, nothing to do with his coaching. Just as football players “decline” with age, so do coaches and it’s always best for everybody when they can go out on a good note. Seems BA hit his peak a few years ago and his stubborn arrogance had alot to do with our sub .500 season last year…just say’n

  31. By D on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    That’s why you make the big coin Darren, thank you

  32. By Darren Urban on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Coin

    Aw, D, my coins are the same size as everyone else’s.

  33. By JamesSamuels on Mar 8, 2017 | Reply

    Bethel is a 3x pro bowler 3 years in a row for special teams. 2016 he didn’t make the bowl and played injured and they called him a Failure in progress.
    In that case, We should label every player who performed poorly last year injured “a failure”.

    In 2016 the Cards thought Bethel would start….that’s why we didn’t keep Powers.
    Marcus Cooper and Brandon Williams ONLY got the start because Bethel’s foot was broken and He couldn’t play like they know how he can play HEALTHY.

    HoneyBadger was injured In 2016 and did not start…….but Badgers not a failure.

    All I’m saying is We should be fair and give Bethel a fighting chance to see what a HEALTHY Bethel plays like this year.

    Thank you for understanding my point. Go Cards!

  34. By Mike on Mar 9, 2017 | Reply

    Bethel- you are allowed to look at the quarterback in the NFL. It helps to do that once in a while. On fouth and a million yards to go, assume A Rodgers will heave a hail mary. It has happened before. Maybe try saying a “hail mary” and then look up in the sky. You have great tenacity on special teams. Apply some of that instinctual play to CB.

  35. By JamesSamuels on Mar 9, 2017 | Reply

    Do you notice Bethel’s mistakes are always a bigger deal then any other DB on the Cardinals?… because everyone knows him as one of the top pro bowl special-teams players in the NFL.
    Coach Arians came back and said that the Rodgers Hail Mary pass that was blamed on Bethel wasn’t Bethels fault… It was zone coverage.
    Do you remember the very next Hail Mary pass?? A hail Mary touchdown pass to Jeff Janis on Patrick Peterson and Rashad Johnson for a touchdown…………but the media didn’t talk about that so much.
    Hope you see my view….thanks MIKE.

  36. By JTDG on Mar 9, 2017 | Reply


    I understand your point and you have every right to feel the way you do.

    But if you want to say, I can’t say Bethel is not a starting CB and should refer to the coaches, who know better. You have to know what the coaches are saying.

    I did not call Bethel a Failure in Progress. BA did. Right.
    I am not the one who has, year after year, not played Bethel at CB. That again would be the coaches.

    Truth is, the cards made a huge mistake last year at CB. They drafted Williams and thought he and Bethel could play opposite Peterson. It took no time (training camp) before they were looking for another CB and traded for Cooper.

    As for being fair, what does that even mean? Would it be unfair to bring in a CB in FA or use the 13th overall pick for a CB and let Bethel compete against them?
    (Which was my original comment above)

    Or is being fair mean, just trot out Bethel and Williams and let them compete for it?

    Bethel has been here 6 years and the coaching staff has seen him everyday in practice. They know what they got. They tried him at CB, they tried him at Safety. Nothing has worked out for him except being a 5 million dollar a year special teams guy.

    If you think year 6 is the magical year, great. Maybe he shocks the world and plays lock down CB. But reality is, he hasn’t done it for 5 years. So wishing and hoping is no way to run an NFL team. Same goes for Williams.

    You have to bring in a CB via FA or a high draft pick and let them compete. If Bethel is good enough, he will emerge as the starter. If not, it is time to release him and get 4 million in cap space.

  37. By Kevin S Mesa on Mar 9, 2017 | Reply

    Clssylssy —

    Yes, I think BA was a little stubborn and needed to adapt sooner to the fact that teams were taking away the deep ball. I think BA and SK have taken their share of the blame for 2016. But the idea that it was all their fault and the players did nothing wrong was silly. I mentioned four games that we would have won with simple execution.

    As far as free agency, realize that Keim doesn’t have a ton of money to work with. The Niners have $93 million in cap space going into FA; the Cards $17M, according to something I saw on Bleacher Report a few days ago. The Rams are closer to the Cards, but OK, they’ve signed a left tackle and a middling receiver. That makes them better, but they still have some serious issues.

    Of all the posters on these boards, you are the one that I see the most often touting the need for veteran “leadership” and suggesting that the Cards should maneuver to keep their best players around. Well, guess what? Veterans cost money. And we have a lot tied up in Palmer, Fitz, Peterson, Mathieu, etc. I didn’t hear too many complaints on this board when we signed Mathieu to a healthy extension, but if he can’t stay healthy, that may be something we regret, and yet more money tied up.

    In any case, please show me some obvious moves that Keim should’ve made this FA period. Show me a guy who signed a contract elsewhere and tell me that the Cardinals should’ve offered more to land the same guy, and tell me how that is possible given the amount of money Keim has to work with. You think we should’ve paid what the Jags paid to keep Calais? Or paid what the Ravens did to keep Jefferson?

    At least guys like JTDG are on here giving specifics about what they would do.

  38. By JamesSamuels on Mar 10, 2017 | Reply

    .December 2015… Cardinals sign Bethel to a 3yr/15mil. Becoming corner opposite Peterson.
    April 2016….Bethel fractured his foot and had surgery and missed all ota’s and summer practices.
    July 2016…..Bethel re injured his foot while training.
    December 2016…..Bethel said he was healthy again and in games 16 and 17 had 11 tackles, one 68 yard pick six, 4 passes def. and allowing only 13 yards in game 16 and 36 yards in game 17 against Russell Wilson. ProFootballFocus ranked him as one of the top corners in the league in those 2 games.
    March 1st 2017…..Coach Arians said on Arizona Sports radio- “I have Confidence in a Now-healthy Justin Bethel can take over”.
    Greatness in Progress”

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